Judge: 3 Players Who Joined Saudi-Backed Golf Tour Can’t Compete In PGA Postseason

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A federal choose in California has dominated three golfers who joined Saudi-backed LIV Golf won’t be able to compete within the PGA Tour’s postseason.

Judge Beth Labson Freeman made her resolution Tuesday afternoon in San Jose after attorneys for the edges every spoke for about an hour. Freeman mentioned she didn’t contemplate the golfers confronted irreparable hurt due to the massive cash they had been assured by becoming a member of LIV, a key problem within the case.

“There simply is no irreparable harm in this case,” PGA Tour legal professional Elliot Peters mentioned.

The three suspended golfers had been looking for a brief restraining order, which Freeman denied. Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford claimed they need to be capable of play the place they need to, every saying in letters final month to the PGA, “I am a free agent and independent contractor.” They’re amongst 10 gamers who filed an antitrust lawsuit in opposition to the PGA Tour final week — together with Phil Mickelson.

Robert Walters, an antitrust litigator representing the golfers, famous it’s their alternative on an enormous playoff stage, “effectively the Super Bowl of golf” due to its “significant income opportunities.” Freeman responded that the LIV Tour earnings potential was additionally nice and requested whether or not gamers might need been capable of wait till the conclusion of the PGA Tour season to depart for the brand new tour.

Walters argued there have been solely 48 spots and they might have stuffed in keeping with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, to which Freeman mentioned she agreed with that stance however that the golfers stood to realize way more financially becoming a member of LIV than the cash they could have earned on the PGA Tour.

“This is an extraordinarily attractive financial opportunity but it’s much more than that,” Walters mentioned, saying the hurt completed is that “players lose intangible benefits” equivalent to {qualifications} for the key tournaments in addition to different marquee invitationals.

“This is the holy grail because everybody wants to compete in and prevail in major championships, but it’s not just the majors,” Walters mentioned. He famous that the PGA Tour inferred these golfers would put a “taint” or “stench” on the tour’s picture by enjoying.

The primary of three FedEx Cup playoff occasions start Thursday as gamers compete for the $18 million high prize — thus the urgency for Freeman to rule. This case may go to trial subsequent yr, with the opportunity of an injunction listening to in late September or early October, in keeping with Peters.

Peters mentioned lifting the suspensions of the golfers and permitting them to play would “change the status quo” for the PGA Tour and “give them a fabulous platform” to advertise the LIV tour whereas competing in a PGA occasion.

“I think it’s a huge problem,” he mentioned. “… The Commissioner needs the ability to protect the tour. This is a very dire situation for the Tour.”

Gooch (No. 20), Jones (No. 65) and Swafford (No. 67) are amongst 9 gamers who’ve joined LIV Golf and completed the common season among the many high 125 within the FedEx Cup standings. The opposite six who joined LIV Golf usually are not asking to play within the tour’s postseason.

AP Golf Author Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.

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